Browser] [Thunderbird E-mail] [Other
Useful Open Source Apps]
I need to update this; I am still using Firefox/Thunderbird, but the
contents of the browsers and my recommended extensions has changed. That
Tired of paying your Microsoft tax? Tired of IE being
the entry point to corrupting your computer? Tired of constantly having
to download updates to IE, only to have it hijacked? Tired of having to
worry about e-mail borne virii? Tired of SPAM? Tired of...
You get the picture. Well, while the first browser war
may have appeared to be won by M$$, I think their feature bloat, cheap
security model is beginning to bite them at last. A whole slew of
products, open source and free to use, are available as alternatives.
Personally, I uninstalled MS/Office. I now have
OpenOffice installed on all of my computers at home. That removes the
first hole MS puts in your computer. Take MS/Office and dispense it into
the trash bin and get it OFF your computer. (I, like most others, have to
use it at work, but I figure if it whacks my work computer, that is the
company's problem to fix as they picked it...)
Next, stop using IE for everything except MS Windows Update site (and maybe
a few sites you trust that require it; then again, if they are that pathetic
that they require IE in order to function properly, maybe they shouldn't be
I figure that when support for Win2K is abandoned, I will be
ditching MS altogether on my home network, as I refuse to pony up around $600
in upgrades for my home computers just for an OS that is loaded with security
holes, etc. I have been playing with Linux for awhile, and it is only a
matter of time before my whole network makes the jump. Just waiting for
WINE/Codeweavers Crossover support for a few key apps (e.g., Quicken) and my
MS days will be in the dumper!!
Below is a list of themes/extensions I recommend for people
who want to get rid of IE/Outlook/Outlook Express.
Take back the web from Micro$oft! Restore it to a safer,
standards compliant place to be! Ditch IE ASAP!
This is pretty much a no-brainer. There are a ton of
reasons to switch from IE. See the information on the CERT
recommendations here. Even scarier is this
report from eWeek (Aug
19, 2004 Ziff-Davis, publishers of the popular PC
Magazine and other respected PC technology magazines). Having
just read this makes me that much more sure: GET RID OF IE
NOW!!! The idea that you can have something as horrible as
this installed on your machine without any way to protect yourself
is scary as all get out...
Firefox (and Mozilla) have the
following great features that make it inherently more secure and
easy to use than IE:
- Popup Blocking
- Tabbed Browsing
- Google Search is built right into the toolbar
- Privacy and Security
Other Extensions I installed (updated July 24, 2005):
perfect if you want to get rid of unsightly ads, etc. It lets you block
addresses using wildcards and regular expressions, so you NEVER see content
from adservers. It is pretty easy to train, as well as filter junk on the fly.
Image Zoom -
Adds functions so you can zoom in and out of pictures. You can install it for
Thunderbird as well, which is really convenient for e-mail.
Tabbrowser Preferences -
Adds controls and tweaks for tabbed browsing.
Chrome Edit -
gives you a simple way to access the chrome files to customize FireFox (advanced).
opens the current page in IE, in case the $%&@!!! webmaster uses
IE only extensions, etc.
Toolbar - gives you all of the functionality of the Google
Toolbar for IE.
Update - adds Windows Update to the tools menu. Launches
IE going to the Windows Update site.
This is also pretty much a no-brainer. Below is a list of
extensions I use with it:
View Headers Toggle
Very useful if you wish to see the headers of an email without viewing the source.
Makes it easy to access your contacts in the main client; opens in the sidebar.
Adds some unique tools to help you do what the name says. Not perfect, since alot
of domains don't support verification, but it helps.
Display Mail User Agent
Adds icons which show you what e-mail client the sender used. Kind of neat...
Privacy Guard GPG Encryption) OpenPGP message encryption and
authentication (Note: this extension looks for gpg in the C:\gnupg\
directory, no matter what you specify in the preferences, so save
yourself the trouble and put GPG in that location)
The following is a list of applications that I use regularly in
the place of commercial software (this list is not exhaustive, but
lists most of the apps I use in place of well known commercial
a lightweight open-source aggregator that supports RSS and ATOM formats.
It works under Windows 95 and later versions.
a free productivity suite compatible with all major office suites.
a free image manipulation program, similar in capability to
a free password manager program; store all your 8 billion
passwords in a single high encryption safe. Remember just
password but have different passwords for every system you use!
The following is a list of applications that I have been playing with
recently. They are all freeware, and are pretty cool. Don't know what
practical use some of them may be, but they are neat.
a cool Mac OS X-like toolbar
a really neat virtual globe; it's like an interactive version of Google Maps...